Tuesday 2 August 2011

Arvon Courses and writing exercises

Last week I was lucky enough to go on an Arvon course at Lumb Bank with tutors Philip Gross and Colette Bryce. The place is stunningly beautiful and we were lucky enough to have glorious sunshine every day. Philip and Colette are both excellent writers an d as you might expect the course was varied and inspiring. By the end of the week I felt like I had really clicked into full on writing mode. My only regret is that the course was not longer - I think I needed a couple of days at the end just to solidly write and edit. It is so easy to lose momentum once back in the world of the everyday and the internet. I have only been home a day or so and already I can feel my writing mind receding somewhat. I can really appreciate the benefits now of writing retreats and might endeavour to save up for one. Just a few days where I can solidly work on my collection without any distractions.

On the plus side I have two completed poems and the beginnings of several others - well more than beginnings but they still need some major editing.  One of them was written mostly in a workshop at Lumb Bank. It is amazing how sometime doing a set exercise can inspire you to write something you wouldn't have written otherwise and on a subject you might not have necessarily chosen for yourself. For the exercise we were all given three slips of paper and told to write a word on each. The slips were then arranged on a table in the next room and we walked round the table and chose a word which we then went away and wrote about. The word I chose was water.

I think one of the other reasons the course was so inspiring was the high calibre of the other poets - I think that we were exceptionally luck that we had a wide age range and some really talented writers. It was similar to when I was doing my MA in that when you are with talented and inspiring writers it makes you step up your game and work that bit harder.